During Women’s History Month we are reminded how much of the history of women in the U.S. is linked with the history of League. More than seventy years ago, the League was started to provide information and education for women who had recently achieved the right to vote. This year our celebration of women’s history is shared with the historic Mechanics’ Institute, which has been providing new opportunities for San Franciscans for more than a century. The Mechanics’ Institute was organized in 1854 when San Francisco was a frontier community running out of gold. It’s original purpose was to provide technical and mechanical education to a generation that had grown up in an agriculture-based world. Over the years the Mechanics’ Institute added a range of cultural and arts events. The League, too, has broadened its goals. It still provides objective election information to the public, but now it does so on television and through podcasts and video streaming. Today’s League also focuses on other public issues such as water and energy policies, housing issues, and this year is starting an in-depth study of immigration policy. History reminds us that all great, living institutions change and grow as they mature. We look back and honor our past, but also look around us to see how our community is changing, and we work toward a future of even greater service.
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